Monday, July 8, 2013

Okay, I give up. Goldie wins!

Two years ago in April, four little chicks were hatched here on the farm, by a Campine no less, which is unusual because Campines don't usually go broody.  These four chicks imprinted on me.  It was a delightful experience.  Goldie and I became especially close.  She is the only female of the four.  Ricky is still affectionate with me as well.  I sold one of the roosters, Pretty, at an early age, and Tiny, the Campine, is a typical Campine -- distancing himself from me as he got a little older.
Goldie and Pretty on my lap.
Last year Goldie had two chicks, and she was so happy!  One died on the first day.  The other survived, and they were together all of the time.  But a hawk got the chick when it was a couple of months old.  I think I was nearly as sad as Goldie.

Goldie with two chicks, spring 2012 

This year, she has gone broody several times but I have ignored her.  After all, there are six little month-old chicks running around here, and I kept thinking she would get over it.  Today I petted her and told her that there would be no chicks this year.  She flared out her neck feathers (again!) and told me what she thought of that.  Then I realized that if I put eggs under her today, they would hatch on my birthday, July 29th.

I chose four white eggs - only white eggs have a chance of being Campine - plus one blue egg.  I carefully dated them and marked them so that any new eggs would be easily recognizable and could be removed from the nest.  (The other hens will happily lay eggs in the nest when the broody hen leaves for a bathroom break or to get some food and water, so marking is important.)

Marked with hatch date - my birthday!
Goldie watching what is happening

When I took the eggs out to the Moop, Goldie was at the feed trough.  Then she hopped up on the roost and watched while I laid the five eggs in her nest.  It took her about a nano-second to figure out what was going on.  She hopped in, then took her beak and made sure the five eggs were safely under her fat feathered body.

Eggs are in the nest.

Look at those ruffled neck feathers!
She's with the eggs.

Settling in
Using her beak to push eggs under her belly
Ah!  All is well.  "I'm making babies!"
 Goldie's neck feathers, which have been ruffled for about the last six weeks, immediately smoothed down.  She knows what is going on.  She is happy.  Good luck, Goldie.  I hope all five eggs are fertile!!


  1. Three of the eggs hatched but two of the chicks died. My neighbor brought down two chicks from his incubator that same day, so Goldie has three little chicks to mother. She is such a good mother! They'll be a month old on Thursday and are all doing fine.